Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 17, 2014

Posts in "Fancy Dinners"

December 8, 2014

Benishek Staffer Wins Roll Call 2014 Election Contest

Benishek Staffer Wins Roll Call 2014 Election Contest

Now that Louisiana’s runoff is a thing of the past, and the results map (How much more time do you need, Arizona?) is more or less set, HOH is pleased to announce the winner of the Roll Call 2014 Election Contest. Congratulations, Christopher Stewart!

“I am incredibly surprised to get this email, since I never win contests,” the legislative assistant for Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., wrote to us, adding that he has lost “badly” in other picking contests such as March Madness brackets and fantasy football. Full story

Feast Your Eyes on Our Inaugural Dining Guide

Pull up a seat, friend. Let me share the tale of how a half-baked scheme to whip up a handy guide to the most interesting places to grab a bite around #ThisTown was kneaded, chopped, seasoned and lovingly molded into the “Nom, Nom, Nom-nibus.”

Feast Your Eyes on Our Inaugural Dining Guide

(Chris Hale/CQ Roll Call Illustration)

As the resident food scribe here at Roll Call, I pride myself on ferreting out local establishments worthy of your hard-earned dining dollars.

Whether that search leads me to a smoke-belching truck idling along some random curbside, or forces me to elbow my way through a throng of high-rollers in order to claim the last bar stool at the latest hot spot matters not.

For my money, it all comes down to what winds up on the plate.

From handcrafted snacks to house-aged steaks, I weigh them all against what I believe our devoted readers would consider a pleasurable experience at a fair price. Which is why I’m as comfortable sending folks out to feast on half-smokes (D.C., represent!) as I am directing traffic toward a Michelin star-worthy outpost.

This forthcoming e-book dining guide — available soon for download at rollcall.com — aims to do just that, shining a light on novel eats from across the culinary spectrum. Some of the recommendations might be perfect for dazzling discerning palates. (Exotic nibbles at The Source! Mouth watering barbecue at DCity Smokehouse!) Others might help advance your career. (Hobnobbing at Johnny’s couldn’t hurt.) A few — such as the Indian carry-out favored by a certain civil rights champ — you may want to keep to yourself.

Need a drink? Sample the sip selections.

Craving comfort foods? Dig into the specials.

Jonesing for sugar? The sweet section runs both hot (doughnuts!) and cold (gelato, yo).

Mind you, this is just the first bite of the apple. There’s plenty more exploratory eating to be done. And I, for one, can’t wait to continue savoring everything the District has to offer.

Bon appétit!

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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November 17, 2014

John Dingell, Carl Levin to Be Honored With LBJ Award

John Dingell, Carl Levin to Be Honored With LBJ Award

Dingell, left, will be honored along with longtime colleague Levin. (Bill Clark/ CQ Roll Call)

Fifty years ago, Rep. John D. Dingell stood next to President Lyndon B. Johnson as he signed the Civil Rights Act. He had already clocked in nearly a decade in the House at that point.

On Tuesday, Dingell and his longtime Michigan colleague, Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, will be honored with the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award from the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation for years of public service in the name of the Texas POTUS’ legacy of civil rights.

Put together, the two Democratic lawmakers have more than nine decades of experience representing the Wolverine State in Washington.

Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in history, was elected in 1955 and is retiring at the end of this year. His wife, Rep.-elect Debbie Dingell, will take his seat in the new Congress.

Levin was elected in 1978 and will retire at the end of the 113th Congress as well.

“I consider my votes to advance the Civil Rights movement throughout the ’50s and ’60s among the most important votes I’ve cast in my 58 years in the House of Representatives,” Dingell said in a statement.

Levin, who said driving a taxi during law school helped introduce him to people from diverse backgrounds, served as general counsel for the Michigan Civil Rights Commission in the ’60s. The foundation cited his support of reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act and his stance on “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policies as modern-day civil rights achievements.

The award ceremony will be held Tuesday at the Newseum. Bob Schieffer of CBS will be the master of ceremonies. Proceeds will go toward the LBJ School of Public Affairs Washington Center.

Nineteen members of Congress and one representative-elect are expected to attend, including the two honorees. The list includes Debbie Dingell; Levin’s brother, Rep. Sander M. Levin, D-Mich.; Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; and Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga.; Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas; Joaquin Castro, D-Texas; Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y.; Corrine Brown, D-Fla.; Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.; Barbara Lee, D-Calif.; Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas; Steven Horsford, D-Nev.; Gene Green, D-Texas; Dan Kildee, D-Mich.; and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.

Related:

John Dingell to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Dean John Dingell’s Office on Display

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 3, 2014

Turned On? Tune In! Or Drop Out (Whatevs)

Turned On? Tune In! Or Drop Out (Whatevs)

(Screenshot)

Election night 2014 is looking like it’ll be a nail-biter.

With so many variables in play — Will the Affordable Care Act ultimately prove detrimental to Democrats’ professional health? Who will independent candidates caucus with on Capitol Hill? How long (and how many runoffs) before we divine the next Senate majority leader? — one might be tempted to grab a drink, catch a movie and perhaps wait for “The Daily Show” recap on Wednesday, rather than suffer through umpteen hours of wall-to-wall news coverage.

But that’s not how #ThisTown rolls, is it? Full story

October 15, 2014

D.C. Drowns in Whiskey Talk

“Wow! I’ve never seen so many whiskeys I don’t recognize,” one apparently overwhelmed drinker declared as he surveyed the row upon row of handcrafted tipples trotted out by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States during its latest “Spirit of Mount Vernon” gala.

D.C. Drowns in Whiskey Talk

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The annual fundraiser, held each year on the same grounds former president and founding father George Washington once called home, benefits causes ranging from the educational efforts spearheaded by the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington which has cropped up nearby, to the veterans-focused Wounded Warriors Family Support Program.

Retiring Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., was honored for his commitment to keeping tax rates low and as well as his ambitious plan to streamline the increasingly complex code.

D.C. Drowns in Whiskey Talk

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Some people paid attention to the awards presentation.

Most folks, however, remained riveted by the rare and pricey pours offered up for public consumption. Full story

September 30, 2014

Shuffling Cory Booker Around

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 44thannual legislative conference is officially in the books. And, unfortunately for the high-profile group, so is a glaring error about the actual stomping grounds associated with Sen. Cory Booker.

 

Shuffling Cory Booker Around

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

 

The program guide for the Phoenix Awards Dinner, held on Sept. 27, inexplicably lists the New Jersey Democrat as hailing from the Land of Lincoln.

Could the CBCF be trying to position Booker to follow in the steps of that actual trailblazing Illinois Democrat who currently occupies the Oval Office?

Are folks in #ThisTown so spellbound by the constantly on-the-go freshman lawmaker that nobody can be bothered to remember that he’s a Garden Stater?

Perhaps the printer just screwed up.

We’ll let you know where the CBCF plants him in next year’s booklet.

 

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September 22, 2014

GOP Mixes, (Briefly) Mingles With Log Cabin Republicans

Not even the lure of spending some quality time with a Cheney could compel congressional Republicans to hang around the Log Cabin Republican’s Spirit of Lincoln dinner in D.C. for longer than it takes to watch an episode of “Modern Family.”

Mind you, the Cheney in question was Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and gay marriage advocate who famously fought with her sister Liz during the latter’s short-lived bid to wrest Wyoming’s Senate seat away from Michael B. Enzi.

 

GOP Mixes, (Briefly) Mingles With Log Cabin Republicans

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Still, it did appear that more Republican lawmakers made an effort to make nice this year than did in 2013.

Full story

September 17, 2014

The Maine Attraction: Getting a Taste of the Chellie Pingree Experience

The Maine Attraction: Getting a Taste of the Chellie Pingree Experience

Boats sit moored in the harbor off North Haven, Maine, home of the Nebo Lodge owned by Pingree. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine — Once aboard the boat that will speed us to North Haven, a Connecticut man opens up about his affinity for the Pine Tree State.

“It’s just waves and rocks and sky. It’s very relaxing after a year of work,” he said of his annual sojourn north.

A Camden, Maine, resident relates how he and his wife make their way across the white-capped expanse for dinner at least once each summer; he hopes to spend a night at Nebo Lodge sometime in order to take the full measure of the island.

The Maine Attraction: Getting a Taste of the Chellie Pingree ExperienceSo go the conversations aboard the Equinox, the privately owned boat tasked with moving mainlanders across the 12 miles of open water that separates Maine Democrat Chellie Pingree’s dining empire from the contiguous United States.

Equinox Captain John Morin calculates he’s transported some 2,200 people to North Haven over the course of this summer. And he loves to educate them about how their patronage benefits the community at large.

Full story

September 16, 2014

The Maine Attraction: Chellie Pingree Cultivates Her Own Food Capital

The Maine Attraction: Chellie Pingree Cultivates Her Own Food Capital

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

NORTH HAVEN, Maine — Should she ever tire of battling opposing lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Rep. Chellie Pingree could always kick back and indulge in one of her favorite pastimes: shaking cocktails for the pleasure seekers who pour into her farm-to-table restaurant each summer.

“I am always telling people that it’s good to have a backup career when you are in Congress. And being a bartender isn’t really that different,” the Maine Democrat shared during a candid discussion about her blossoming dining empire.

Still, the three-term lawmaker insists she never planned on becoming a hospitality maven.

“When I bought the inn, I really intended it to be more of a community project to help create a few jobs … and make sure that it was easier for people to find lodging when they had a guest coming,” Pingree said.

The Maine Attraction: Chellie Pingree Cultivates Her Own Food Capital

But her budding portfolio, which includes the critically acclaimed Nebo Lodge and its larder-filling sibling, Turner Farm, appears to be steadily outperforming her modest ambitions. She currently employs about 70-plus people (predominantly women) in a community comprised of around 300 year-round residents.

How this fledgling restaurateur managed to become the toast of her floating-in-Penobscot-Bay town is no big mystery.

She planted the seeds for this unexpected success decades ago. Full story

September 8, 2014

Lobbyists, Lawmakers Aim to Crush Crippling Disease

Anti-Duchenne muscular dystrophy crusader Joel Wood can’t force all of Congress to come around to his way of thinking regarding the need for more funding and research to wipe the life-threatening illness off the face of the planet. But he can keep chipping away at the problem — as he has for the past 14 years — one spectacular gathering at a time.

Lobbyists, Lawmakers Aim to Crush Crippling Disease

(Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, Inc.)

Wood and his wife, Dana, have made it their mission to see the degenerative disorder purged from the human condition ever since their son, James, was diagnosed with DMD in May 2000.

The duo intends to keep up the good fight Tuesday evening via their 14th annual “Dining Away Duchenne” fundraiser, a gourmet taste-around scheduled to take place in the North Hall of Eastern Market from 6 to 9 p.m.

Tickets for the event, which benefits the Woods’ non-profit Foundation to Eradicate Duchenne, start at $250. Full story

June 11, 2014

Plotting Cantor’s Last 24 Hours as Leader

He’s still a ways away from needing to haul a moving van to cart his legislative mementos back to Henrico County, Va. But it’s now painfully obvious that Rep. Eric Cantor is living on borrowed time in Congress.

Plotting Cantor’s Last 24 Hours as Leader

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Virginia Republican saw his career cut short Tuesday after suffering a stunning loss to relatively unknown economics professor Dave Brat in a history-making electoral upset.

We suspect he’s already replaying in his head every single thing he could have done differently. One can only hope he’s sparing himself the indignity of compartmentalizing each crushing blow into a slowly unspooling shame spiral — though that might finally make for an interesting installment of the long-since abandoned “Snapshot of the Leader” series.

Team Cantor briefly experimented with a torturous examination of the House majority leader’s daily activities, but appears to have given up on the documenting process after just 120 mind-numbing minutes.

Hour One

Hour Two

Confidence is low they’ll revive the video diary for his last official day here on Capitol Hill. But we can’t help but wonder just what that might look like. Full story

May 7, 2014

Songwriters Jam at Library of Congress

Even at a concert celebrating songwriters, politics was on everyone’s minds.  To be fair, the concert was right across from the Capitol.

Songwriters Jam at Library of Congress

WIlliams often reminds lawmakers about artists’ rights. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After a captivating performance of “Crazy on You” by Ann and Nancy Wilson of the legendary band Heart, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., joked about the tensions among lawmakers.

Boxer told the audience that included Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., “I think we found our new theme song when we’re debating: ‘Crazy On You,’ crazy!  Right, Lamar?  We could do that.” Full story

May 5, 2014

Which Members of Congress Attended White House Correspondents Association Dinner?

Which Members of Congress Attended White House Correspondents Association Dinner?

From left: White House’s Matt Lehrich, AshLee Strong of Sen. John Thune’s office, Fischer, Roll Call White House Correspondent Steven T. Dennis. (Christina Bellantoni/CQ Roll Call)

The White House Correspondents Association Dinner is a chance to see and be seen, and an evening when Washington’s elite can rub elbows with Hollywood elites. Members of Congress also frequently attend as guests of the media outlets.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., lamented (sort of) that it could be his last #WHCD given he isn’t seeking re-election this fall. Before President Barack Obama began his speech, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told CQ Roll Call it was “getting old” that the president has so often taken jabs at him. (He didn’t get mentioned this time around.)

Roll Call’s guests included Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.

Here is a list of the members who attended, according to the official program.

Full story

So, Nancy Pelosi’s Tattoo Parlor Trip Makes More Sense Now

About a week ago, the Hungry Lobbyist Twitter account posed a truly baffling question:

Now we know.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was shooting a 22-second cameo for a video that aired at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on May 3. The video went completely viral and is now closing in on 1 million views since it was posted online late that night.

Full story

April 25, 2014

Congressional ‘Chefs’ Ready Recipes for Gourmet Gala

With the 32nd Annual March of Dimes Gourmet Gala just days away, congressional tastemakers are dusting off old favorites and whipping up new temptations with which to woo support for charity cook-off bragging rights.

The epic fundraiser (individual tickets start at $1,500 per person) is scheduled to take place May 7 beginning at 6 p.m. at the National Building Museum (440 G St. NW).

Organizers have opted to embrace a state fair theme for the glitzy dine-around, and more than three dozen House and Senate lawmakers have accepted the challenge to create a hopefully noteworthy nibble.

In keeping with tradition, the Capitol Hill “chefs” will be vying for a handful of honors, including: Best Presentation, Health and Happiness, American Regional Cuisine, Easiest Preparation, Best in Show and the People’s Choice Award.

Full story

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